Welcome to 'Part Dos' of my favorite horror movies of the decade (2015-2019.) This part of the decade is definitely my favorite, and it has (and continues to have) some of the best performances of all horror cinema.
On top of that, this decade of horror cinema has been dominated by women. From performances by Lupita Nyong'o, Toni Collette, and Florence Pugh, to performances by Jane Levy, Carla Gugino, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more, this part of the decade has memorable films and has shown that women are the true superstars of the horror genre.
30. Don't Breathe (2016), dir. Fede Alvarez
Jane Levy gave audiences two show-stealing performances this decade- first, with Evil Dead (2013) and then again with the 2016 film, Don’t Breathe. In Don’t Breathe, she plays Rocky, a thief who lives a downtrodden life as she tries to make enough money to run away to California with her younger sister. Her and her friends hear about a blind man who is living with a major cash-load in his home, and if they could get the money, their lives would be changed and bettered for the future. As they run through this ex-militants home trying to steal his cash, Dylan Minette also offers one of his very best performances, and the story goes down a path of survival (and a little weirdness) that plays on your senses.
29. Viral (2016), dir. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Viral (2016) was one of my favorite watches of the decade for multiple reasons. Although it received much negative criticism, and it contains a cringing performance by a particular character, its story offers so much creative realism that it is one of my favorite 'quarantine' films to date. Sisters Emma (Sofia Black) and Stacey (Analeigh Tipton) live in California when a deadly, parasitic virus spreads across the nation, causing a national emergency and an ordered quarantine. As the city reacts in its own way, we follow the two sisters through this grueling and grossly realistic predicament through survival. Analeigh Tipton was the highlight of this film for me, and it proves that she deserves more roles to truly show her talent. This film also provides some amazing and chilling cinematography along with its unique and fun take on a well-known viral trope.
28. Gerald's Game (2017), dir. Mike Flanagan
Gerald's Game is the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's 1992 book. In my opinion, it's actually one of the best Stephen King adaptations, and one of Netflix's best originals. That, plus Carla Gugino's performance, makes this my number 29 spot on this list. Gerald's Game (2017) follows long-time married couple, Jessie (Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), going up to their cabin to try to 'spice up' their marriage (AKA, Gerald trying to live out a sick fantasy on his on his wife.) The opening premise is just used to get the audience to the cabin, because the story revolves around Jessie and her survival from her literal and mental cuffs. This psychological and vividly gory horror film puts the audience in the cuffs with Jessie as she works through a mentally and physically crushing predicament. (You can read my full review here)
27. The Neon Demon (2016), dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
Elle Fanning’s performance in Neon Demon (2016) as an enigmatic beauty in the modeling industry in this neon-lit horror was one of the best of the year it came out, without a doubt. As she is literally and mentally consumed by this unknown world she has stepped into, the audiences are forced to watch in awed horror. Fanning plays Jesse, a 16 year old girl who just moved to California without a family and only a dream. In what you would think is a film about a girl who struggles to make it in a dog-eat-dog industry, you are presented with the exact opposite and something more. This female-led horror takes new directions, while offering amazing performances and a beautiful directing and cinematography that makes it feel like something out of a disco, drug-induced nightmare.
26. The Conjuring 2 (2016), dir. James Wan
Another memorable female in horror this decade, for me, is definitely Madison Wolfe and her performance in The Conjuring 2 (2016). This is the last film in the Conjuring-universe that was memorable for me because of its ability to- again- scare the living crap out of me and because of its thoughtful storyline. In this sequel, Wolfe plays Janet, a London native who begins to experience horrifying and supernatural occurrences after she plays with an Ouija board. This film takes new twists and turns when exploring the possession and ghost trope, and it truly kept me guessing and quivering in fear the whole time. I loved everything, from the editing to the creativity of the ghosts in this film, and I still refuse to watch it alone. Vera Farmiga will go down as one of horrors most memorable and believable scream queens.
25. Halloween (2018), dir. David Gordon Green
Laurie Strode is back, and her storyline took an amazing alternate route in this 2018 sequel. As an avid Halloween film fan, from the original to Rob Zombie's 2007 re-adaptation, I was more than excited about this 2018 remake when I heard of its making. Written by the director (Green), Danny McBride, and Jeff Fradley, Halloween (2018) directly follows the original 1978 film- creating an alternate timeline from the other sequels. What this modern sequel succeeds in is creating a whole story that gives the same feeling as the original in a contemporary world of horror. For me, it's the best Halloween sequel created to date, and it gives off that same daunting, evil aura as its predecessor. Along with that, the care put into rounding and adapting Laurie's character 40 years after she experienced the events of the previous film was some of the best care and respect placed into a beloved character.
24. The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015), dir. Oz Perkins
What would you do if you were trapped in a boarding school with one other student and 2 faculty members? You most likely wouldn't go through the events of this supernatural horror, and let's consider that a good thing. Kiernan Shipka continuously proves that she is an upcoming star of crafty, demonic horror through her role as Sabrina and also Kat, in this 2015 film- The Blackcoat's Daughter. The film follows Rose and Kat as they are left behind at their boarding school over winter break, waiting for their parents to come pick them up. Immediately, the girls are in danger of evil forces on the campus preying on their innocence and solitude. The simple gory nature of the film added with a killer performance from Shipka and a twisting, creative storyline makes it my number 25 spot. It is one of the most creative renditions of its genre.
23. Green Room (2015), dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Do you want to watch some white supremacist's die? Then you would love the hidden gem that is Green Room (2015.) Released by A24 (and currently on Netflix), Green Room enlists an endearing and memorable performance by Anton Yelchin and a grungy, outstanding performance by Imogen Poots. The film follows a small, punk band performing at small venues across America when they stumble across a chance to perform at a secluded club outside Portland. When they are witnesses to a brutal murder, they are placed in a predicament where they must fight against Neo-Nazi's for survival. The directing of this film takes the audience through a massively gory, machete-wielding string of events. The dynamic between the characters being cramped in a small green room and the outside greenery of the Oregon forests, gives an intimate, intense, and almost suffocating view of the characters and the storyline to the audience, making it one of the most memorable films of the decade.
22. It: Chapter 2 (2019), dir. Andres Muschietti
I will fight to the death defending this film. It's cohesiveness to its predecessor is unmatched, and it also succeeds in completely heightening the true evil of Pennywise, while also expanding on the intimate relationships between the Losers (a group of friends that has worked their way to our hearts.) It: Chapter 2 (2019) may have been one of the most anticipated horror films of the year, and it did exactly what I expected it to- split the fans who either loved it or hated it. I loved this film, and the way it expands on the 2017 one. 27 years after the summer of the original events, the Losers club members have all moved very far away from their home town and basically forgot their previous lives in Derry- except for Mike. He is still living in Derry, and he still remembers everything, so when Pennywise awakens from his hibernation, Mike calls all the Losers home to defeat him for good this time. Bill Skarsgard is a very different Pennywise than Tim Curry, but that doesn't make him any less. He has proven that he is a terrifying force to be reckoned with, and Pennywise can only get scarier as the years pass by. This film is weird and terrifying. It's an amped up story about one's deepest fears, and it continuously celebrates King's original story of friendship that touched the hearts of many then and now. (Plus, Bill Hader is a treasure.)
21. Veronica (2017), dir. Paco Plaza
Remember when this film debuted and sparked viral conversation on social media? Then, it kind of fell off for everyone, but not for me. Veronica (2017) is a Spanish horror film about a girl (Sandra Escacena) who takes care of her siblings after her father's death and her mother's constant working long hours. It is loosely based on the true events about Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro. When Veronica and her friends conduct a séance with an ouija board at school, they open a door for an evil force to come through. The span of this film is 3 days, and in that short time, Veronica and her family experience inexplicable horrors that destroy their lives. By this time, many of us are pretty tired of possession/demonic films, but the way Veronica handles and delivers an overdone sub-genre is admirable. This film is calculated in its story line, and Paco Plaza gives the audience a genuine, Spanish film that feels authentic with the setting and the performances from the children.
20. Ready or Not (2019), dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Ready or Not (2019) is an aimed gun (or crossbow) at the 1%, and by making light and horror of their lifestyle and riches, the movie succeeds in everything it aims to do. Samara Weaving place Grace, a newly-wed to Alex (Mark O'Brien)- who comes from a wealthy family with a gaming dominion. The Le Domas' have a ritual every time a member of the family gets married- they have to play a game, and usually it's "Old Maid" or "Checkers", but if they play "Hide and Seek", then the family hunts and sacrifices the new in-law. This is all done so they can keep their riches (and lives.) Ready or Not is a perfect black-comedy that centers around a general fear, wackiness, and distaste that revolves around the 1%. It also tip-toes around family bonds and marriage in a clever way. More than anything, this film is definitely character driven, centered around Grace (Weaving) herself. As she fights for survival, she delivers some of the most memorable lines and keeps the attention of the audience throughout. Samara Weaving has found herself amongst "The Greats" of all final girls. With this film and The Babysitter, she has also proven her comedic timing in the horror genre. (You can read my full review here!)
19. Mother! (2017), dir. Darren Aronofsky
Alright, so Jennifer Lawrence delivered a capturing performance in this 2017 film. She was soft and pained; then she broke barriers, and she portrayed every emotion so strongly and beautifully throughout the rest of the story. She is the reason it made my list. Mother! (2017) follows Mother (Lawrence) and her husband, Him (Javier Bardem), who live in tranquility and solitude in their meadow-mansion. Their quiet life is abruptly and unapologetically disrupted by a mysterious couple that stops by. This film is very heavy-handed on its metaphors, but overall, it is the performances and the beauty of it that puts it at my number 19 spot. I will never forget certain moments of this film, nor will I forget Lawrence's performance. There is no doubt that this film is a visual masterpiece and the acting is some of the best of the decade, but there is also no doubt that this film will divide film fans forever. One thing I can say is that it is one of my most memorable watches of all time, and without the grueling 3rd act, it would be much higher on my list.
18. Happy Death Day (2017), dir. Christopher Landon
Happy Death Day (2017) is the perfect, modern slasher film for me. It gives me the same feels as Scream (1996), and Tree shall not be an overlooked final girl. It uses a thriller twist on the classic "Groundhog day" plot, and where this would usually be tired, Scott Lobdel and Christopher Landon create a perfectly timed and rounded story that never loses my interest. Happy Death Day follows Tree (Jessica Rothe) as she wakes up in an unknown dorm, after a night of partying. It also just so happens to be her birthday, and at the end of the day, someone brutally murders her. Then, she wakes up again- back to her birthday morning, and she must live this day over and over (and die over and over) until she finds her murderer. This film creatively reuses favorite slasher tropes and makes them new- from the "gotcha" ending, to the bathroom scene, to the romantic aspect, and more. Rothe was so much fun to watch throughout the entire movie, and she never misses a beat nor loses momentum. There are certain horror movies that are also comfort films for me, and this film is definitely one of them. I can watch it a million more times, and never be tired of it.
17. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
The last film I watched that made me as uncomfortable as this was Funny Games (2007). And definitely not a bad kind of uncomfortable feeling, but a feeling of awkward, inescapable intensity that this film perfectly curates. This movie relies heavily on the performances of each character, especially Barry Keoghan as Martin. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) is a film about a heart surgeon, Steven (Colin Ferrell), who takes an interest to a teen named Martin. Martin is the son of one of Steven's patients who passed away, and slowly, Martin's relationship with Steven- and his family- takes a sinister turn. Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou crafted a story from the Greek tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis that plays on the minds and emotions of audiences. In order for the time to work, there has to be an aura of carelessness and indifference, and each character perfectly captures that aura and releases it to truly convince you. It is the cold exterior of specific characters that enhances the subtle horror of the story. They capture the evil of indifference that spreads and spoils every aspect of life, and Sunny Suljic delivers a great performance that stands out against the rest, because he is the corner of innocence through it all.
16. Annihilation (2018), dir. Alex Garland
Once again, Natalie Portman absolutely dominates a role, and this time she is accompanied by some hard-hitting women, especially Jennifer Jason-Leigh. Annihilation (2018) follows a biologist, Lena (Portman), who volunteers to enter "the shimmer" when her husband goes missing and returns with no memory and a deteriorating health. As her and a troupe of other volunteers enter the unknown shimmer, they find that it is a land of mutating plants and animals due to an alien presence that landed years prior. Each of the women offer a different personality to the group, some self-aware and others painfully ignorant, and altogether, they travel through the foreign lands to find the source of the attacking mutations. From the storyline to the acting, this film already gives the audience so much content to enjoy, but what really tops the cake is the cinematography and every creature and plant of this film. From the flower deer, to the alligator and bear, the carefully crafted and placed plant people, and more. The film is chocked full of subtle and beautiful visual metaphors, as well as dialogue, that resonates with audiences.
15. The Invitation (2015), dir. Karyn Kusama
A dinner party with your ex is already a nightmare for many people, but this film is nothing you would ever imagine that dinner party to be. The Invitation (2015) is about Will (Logan Marshall Green) and his new girlfriend taking a trip to have a dinner party with his ex-wife, her new lover, and their old friends. Dealing with a heartbreaking trauma, re-visiting his old life is proven to be more than difficult for Will, and his ex-wife's neutral and calm nature only makes it worse for him. This film not only displays contrasting approaches to grief and depression, but it also creates a perfect scenario of cult-like mindsets. It's a slow-burn, and the tension increasingly built in the film leads to a climactic and murderous ending for the viewers. Prior to this film, Marshall Green was in other horror films like Devil (2010) and Prometheus (2012), where he continuously shows his ability to bare true, overwhelming emotions of intense fear, passion, pain, and anger.
14. A Quiet Place (2018), dir. John Krasinski
A Quiet Place (2018) makes itself to be on of the best post-apocalyptic horror films to date. The film stars Emily Blunt and her real-life spouse, John Krasinski, with Krasinski as a co-writer and the director. A Quiet Place takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, year 2020, where aliens have taken over and hunt people by sound. The only way to survive is to stay quiet. To start, the dynamic between our two characters played by Blunt and Krasinski is proven to by heightened by their real-life relationship. Everything was believable, and it only draws you in closer to the family, where the two children also deliver outstanding performances. Millicent Simmonds is the standout performance of the film as Regan, the deaf daughter of the couple and also a very emotional character of the film to watch. Having a deaf actress on the film only strengthens its genuinity and the overall impact of the movie, and Simmonds' ability to make the audience bare witness to her emotions of mourning, guilt, and fear is heart-wrenching. A Quiet Place is one of the most clever stories created this decade, and it engages the audience in a plot with stealthy, terrifying creatures and a family that you worry and care about each second you are watching them on screen. The use of silence in this film enhances the experience, especially in a theater setting, and it was one of my favorite watches of the decade.
13. Suspiria (2018), dir. Luca Guadagnino
If there's anything this decade has taught us, it's that dance and horror are a perfect match made in heaven. The two together create a visually stunning and emotion-invoking experience for audiences. Suspiria (2018) gives the audience this experience through a story about Susie Bannion (played by Dakota Johnson), an American woman who moves to West Berlin to audition for a dance academy- the Markos Tanzgruppe- and the matrons of the dance group are accused of witchcraft. There are vividly provocative scenes of the film that center around motherhood, and the performances from each character brings the audience into the dance academy and even into the minds of the main characters. The score and choreography play a major role that pushes the themes and haunting of the film. Everything of the movie entranced me, from Dakota's performance, to the beautiful, emotional dancing, to the use of red throughout the visuals, and more.
12. Train to Busan (2016), dir. Yeon Sang-ho
Train to Busan (2016) is by far one of the best zombie films I have every watched. Currently on Netflix, it is a uniquely realistic and thoughtful film centered around parental relationships and rabid, flesh-eating beings. Train to Busan is a South Korean film that follows Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) and his daughter, Su-an (Kim Su-an), as they board a train to visit Su-an's mother when a rabid virus breaks out, putting their lives in imminent danger. Before the chaos begins, we are briefly shown the relationship of many of the characters on board to Busan, providing a humanity to them that lasts throughout the entirety of the film. What I love about many zombie films is their dynamic between showing humanity and emotions through a story about emotionless, mindless creatures. As the characters are getting closer while they fight for their lives, it only makes the audience more attached to them. Seok-woo and Su-an have a difficult relationship throughout the film, and it's mostly due to Seok-woo's constant working and distance from his daughter. As they relationship unfolds, it brings about a tear-jerking story for the audience that I will never forget. Aside from the emotional story, the zombies in this film are phenomenal. Each movement of the actors is like a possessed doll, and it only heightens their believability. The makeup and artistic touch on the zombies and their role in this film is what makes it my number 12 spot.
11. It (2017), dir. Andres Muschietti
Yes, Bill Skarsgard's "Pennywise" is the best clown of the decade. When I first watched It (2017), I was hit with a wave of emotions that I don't usually get from horror films and that I wasn't really expecting. This modern adaptation of one of Stephen King's most popular stories is the best to date, and the children of this film have a bond and rapport throughout that made it a standout then and still today. It is about 7 children who live in an unforgiving, horrible town- Derry. The town is almost possessed by "It"'s evil, and the children already have everyday fears they live with when a terrorizing clown comes into play, messes with their deepest fears, and threatens their lives. As you watch all of them slowly come together in the face of multiple dangers, you can't help but truly love these characters for everything they are. This film is obviously very honest and funny with its dialogue between the children, but more than that it captures the feeling of finding friendship and light in your personal darkness. Andres Muschietti directed a beautiful horror film that never felt too dark or painfully grey. It was full of color and honest emotions. He captured the air of summer in this gory story about phobias, evil, and a flesh-eating clown. This film will go down as one of my favorites of all time.
10. Raw (2016) Julia Ducournau
Garance Marillier plays Justine, a vegetarian college student, in this masterful and unique horror film. Raw (2017) follows Justine at her first year at her university, where her sister is already attending. There, Justine finds her morals, her inhibitions, and her very being tested by her sister and their environment. Even after watching this film, it sticks with you for long after. Justine and her sister harbor a dark, bloody secret throughout the film that makes you as the audience nauseated and intrigued. Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, Raw (2017) is a French coming-of-age film, like no other. It's a unique story that subtly leaves a mark in your mind about fitting in and the loss of innocence. Watching Justine struggle with an inner demon she never knew hid dormant within her, feels like something very familiar yet foreign all the same. It was definitely one of my favorite and memorable performances of the decade.
9. Revenge (2017), dir. Coralie Fargeat
Everything that this film attempts to do, it succeeds in, far more than any other previous attempt does. Revenge (2018) takes on the highly-debated subgenre of rape revenge in a masterful and honest way that never felt exploitative nor made for the male perspective. Written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, Revenge proves a film of this subgenre can be told from a female perspective and be incredibly empowering for the main character. It follows Jen (Matilda Lutz) as she takes a trip with her married lover to his secluded home. When his 2 friends unexpectedly arrive, one of them assaults Jen, and they leave her for dead in the middle of the desert. This film is massively vivid and gory throughout every scene, literally stained with the blood of her aggressors, starting the moment Jen is left for dead. It's a calculated story that follows our main character through the desert as she hunts down the three men. What was most memorable in this film, for me, was the fact that I left only remembering Jen's name, without any care for the men's names. They never felt important enough to care to remember. Lutz delivered such an astounding performance throughout this film, and she was absolutely badass and intelligent. She was amazing to watch, and aside from the vivid deaths, Coralie also captures moments of the film that display the rotten nature of these men that led to their ultimate, deserved demise.
8. The Love Witch (2016), dir. Anna Biller
Written and directed by Anna Biller, The Love Witch (2016) is a feminist, campy, 1960s-esque horror film, and I adored every second of it. It is also one of the best female-directed (and overall directed films) of the decade. The Love Witch follows Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a narcissistic sorceress, and her quest for love. After being left by her ex-husband, Elaine wants to find a man, desperately, and she uses magic in her attempt to do so. As she finds new lovers, there always seems to be a horrific turn for each one. The Love Witch explores love and desire from a female scope, and it perfectly constructs meaningful conversation through it's kaleidoscope eyes. This is by far the most beautifully shot, velvet films of all time, and it's the cinematography that ties in perfectly with the characters and the storyline. This film is dedicated to its premise and its time period. There is so much care put into the costumes, makeup, and the designs and sets of the film, to bring the audience back into its world and view it from the eyes of the main character.
7. Midsommar (2019), dir. Ari Aster
Continuing on the "iconic performances by women" train, there is Florence Pugh, who gave a beautiful performance in Fighting with my Family, and a heartbreaking and alluring performance again in Midsommar (2019). Midsommar is about Dani, a young women who undergoes a familial trauma and who is emotionally dependent on her manipulative and emotionally unavailable boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor.) Ari Aster has shown again that he knows how to perfectly portray some of the most hidden, emotionally distressing human relationships. These relationships he portrays, especially between Dani and Christian, are realistic fears. They are a portrayal of what we could, or what we have, been through, and it's something that can be hard to watch. I personally cringed more times watching the human aspects than anything else. Then, Aster takes it a step further and creates this fascinating story about a Swedish cult, with incomprehensible and murderous ideologies. Midsommar is a horror film to marvel at. It never allows the horrors it's trying to portray to hide in the dark. Everything is blunt and out in the open for you to take in. From the moment our characters step into Halsingland, they are on hallucinogens, and the cinematography makes sure that the audience is forced into that mindset as well, making every moment feel inescapable.
6. Us (2019), dir. Jordan Peele
It is a well-known fact that Lupita Nyong'o delivered a show-stopping and stealing performance in the 2019 film Us. Not only that, but she gave one of the best performance of the decade overall, and on top of that, she was accompanied by a killer cast that kept up the momentum and rounded out the film to be the masterpiece that it is. Us (2019) follows Adelaide (played by Nyong'o) from childhood to adulthood. After experiencing a pretty traumatic event from her childhood, Adelaide finally returns to a childhood home with her family, where she immediately gets a terrible feeling something bad may happen. Soon after, the family and the rest of America are terrorized and murdered by their doppelgangers. There is so much I loved about this film. Jordan Peele was able to create a terrorizing and thoughtful slasher that kept me at the edge of my seat. The score of the film is one of the best of the year. The entire cast delivered beautifully contrasting performances as themselves and their doppelgangers. Us was one of the most thoughtfully written horror films this year for me. The symbolism of "two sides of the same coin" and privilege, paired with the horrors of being hunted by mindless beings that looks like you, made for one of the best recent horror films crafted, in my opinion. The cast put together in this film was paired perfectly to crate a believable family dynamic, and I enjoyed every moment of this movie.
5. The Lighthouse (2019), dir. Robert Eggers
I had the pleasure of watching this film recently, and I knew immediately where it belonged on my list. What can I say, there is so much to love about it. Starting with the fact that every shot can be framed and hung up in an art museum because that is how beautiful it is. I remember as soon as the opening scene began, I knew I was in for a visual treat, and I was right. Robert Eggers truly has a beautiful vision in his mind that he conveys perfectly on screen for audiences to devour. Each new scene and moment of this story was thought provoking, fun, chilling, and outerworldly moving. The Lighthouse (2019) follows two men- Ephraim (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas (Willem Defoe)- who are stationed at a lighthouse where a storm hits and where they slowly begin to descend into insanity. There are two characters in this film, and aside from the story and the visuals, their intricate moments and dialogue is what drives the entire film. From the beginning or the film, there is a daunting feeling that looms over the environment. It consumes the theater, and the air of silence and unknowing it creates is everything you want from horror film. Then, there is the performances that heighten the experience. Pattinson is enticing and fun as a calm storm. His personality throughout the film is like a madness boiling beneath the surface of a façade that bursts through the seams by the end. And Defoe, well he was my favorite part of the entire experience. He had some of the best lines, albiet sometimes hard to understand (though that might actualy make the feeling better). Defoe plays an old lighthouse keeper, indebted to the sea and a praiser of Triton. This film is befinitely worth multiple watches, and was one of my favorite theater experiences of all time.
4. Hereditary (2018), dir. Ari Aster
As I wind down my list, it started to get extremely difficult choosing which film would go above the other. Truthfully, many of these I love almost equally, and ranking them felt near impossible. For my number 4 spot I chose Hereditary, because the performances of this film are quite literally perfect. Toni Collette knows her power, and I've known her power since The Sixth Sense, but I never knew it quite like this. There were multiple moments of her performance that I was on the verge of tears, because of the overwhelming sadness she portrayed. Hereditary (2018) is about a family burdened with tragedy. Ari Aster created a story that captures difficult familial relationships, and that story displays the real-life horrors individuals deal with in those relationships. The overbearing emotions and expectations, the misunderstandings and resentment that boil beneath the surface of our feelings towards individuals who share our blood and DNA- that's what makes Sunday dinners feel like dread, and that's what Aster captures in this film. Then, he takes it a step further and adds in the supernatural horror. The two mixed together make this a phenomenal story overall and an emotional beating for me. Finally, aside from Collette's performance (which deserved much recognition during awards season), Alex Wolfe also shined in this story as Peter. I cant wait to see him in more roles in the future.
3. The Witch (2015), dir. Robert Eggers
Anya Taylor Joy gives my number 3 performance on this list, and Eggers creates a story so terrifying and mesmerizing it solidified its place in my horror memory. This period piece carries a feeling that makes your hairs stand as pin-needles on your skin. The ominous fear penetrates the viewer, and with the help of a biblical, timely dialogue, the experience of watching this movie is only made better. The Witch (2015) follows a Puritan, New England family in isolation on their farm. During their time on the farm, the family begins to experience evil, supernatural forces that may be trying to destroy and murder them. This film is one of my favorite period pieces to date, and the way Eggers knows how to immerse himself and the audience into a different time, feeling, and entire world is truly a gift. Every single person delivers a phenomenal performance in this film that transports you to a fearful, Godly time, and the have a connection that strives throughout and makes it more convincing. I never thought I would dislike children as much as I did in this film, but that only makes the entire film so much better, because this film provoked different emotions in me through each character. The costumes and setting of the film were perfect. The grey and shadowy visuals were lovely and horrifying all in one.
2. The Wailing (2016), dir. Na Hong-jin
When I think of one of the most creative horror movies of all time, that is both extremely terrifying, supernatural, and emotional, I think of The Wailing (2016.) The Wailing is about a police officer, Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won), who begins investigating multiple murders in his small village, where a strange illness spreads amongst the people who first experience a boiling skin rash and then go on a zombie-like, murderous rampage. The Wailing uses some popular horror tropes, like the zombie-like disease and the exorcisms, but in a way that felt so fresh and overwhelmingly horrifying- it is honestly unique. This South Korean horror was written and directed by Na Hong-Jin, and his ability to not only masterfully mix popular horror tropes with an authentic cultural feeling and aspects, is something that cannot be ignored. The exorcism by shamans, the beautifully authentic scenery, and the fantastically gory practical effects make this film everything that it is, in all of its magnificent horror glory. Then, there are the remarkable acting chops from Kwak Do-won and Kim Hwan-hee (his daughter), who are both poignant and display genuine senses of tear-inducing fear, and Hwan-hee's performance of possession is somehow both depressing and scary all the same. Every character possesses an ability to make you sweat in this sublime horror flick.
1. Get Out (2017), dir. Jordan Peele
The rest of this list may have been pretty difficult to put together, but I always knew who my number one spot would go to. For me, Get Out (2017) was the perfect modern horror film, and it was most definitely my favorite of the decade overall. I will never be able to shake the chilling fear that overcame me when Chris first fell into the sunken-place, as I had no choice but to watch in horror in that dark theater. This is one of the very few horror movies that has brought me to tears, but this was not out of sadness, it was out of sheer fear, as I felt I was there with Chris- stuck. Jordan Peele flawlessly captured the aura of what a "sunken place" would feel like. It's a visual representation of being possessed in your body in society, unable to control how you act or speak- like your actions are predesigned by a higher power, and you have no choice but to comply. Get Out (2017) is about Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his trip to visit his girlfriend Rose's (Allison Williams) family for the first time. The theme of Rose bringing a black man home to her parents is perfectly explored throughout the first act of the film, and the acting from Rose, her parents, and Chris himself create a relatable discomfort that is felt throughout situations in society. Then, this film transcends on this topic into fierce force of intense psychological scenarios. Every performance of this film is over-the-top-ly awe-inspiring. Then, the use of the setting of the film- from the woodsy area to the mahogany, classic home- is done so in a way that puts you in the room with our main character. Lastly, but definitely not least, once again Jordan Peele has one of the best scores on this list. It completely enhances every aspect and minute of this story, from the very opening scene, to when our characters are driving down the road, and finally, to the very bloody ending.
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